John Seven Plus One – Reflection 1/8
A series of Lenten (and Easter) Reflections based on the signs in the Gospel of John by Fr Francis Lim, SJ, every Thursday (except Tuesdays during Holy Week and Easter Week).
The Gospel of John is also known as the Book of Signs. John portrays these signs as works of wonder by Jesus in order for believers to deepen their faith in Jesus. Through these reflections, Fr Francis hopes to bring our parishioners to a deeper personal relationship with Jesus.
Reflections on the Wedding at Cana
Changing water into wine at Cana in John 2:1-11 – “the first of the signs” (2 March)
Jesus changed water into wine at the request of his mother. The wine is plentiful and of fine quality which is a foretaste of the Kingdom of God as inaugurated by Jesus. Who is this Jesus who manifests his glory in such a manner to me?
1. Who is Jesus to me now?
Jesus is my Saviour and Redeemer. He has come to bring good news to the world. He has set me and others free from sins.
2. What feelings was evoked in me and why?
I have been given a new lease of life and I thank God for the gift of life and faith. I feel blessed with the gift of Mother Mary to be our mother who cares for the needs of others. I can turn to her for help.
3. What has changed?
I humbly resolved to imitate Mother Mary in her virtues of great humility and obedience and follow Jesus closely.
4. How do I proceed with my faith life from here?
I want to renew my personal commitment to Mother Mary and reciprocate zealously when she says, “Do whatever he tells you” and to the Church by caring more for others in need. It is not easy but with God’s grace and Holy Spirit, all things are possible for God. It is through our service to others that we glorify God.
On signs: Pseudo signs turn heads, true signs turn hearts
Blind like Bartimaues
May I also have faith like him
That signs, though not seen
May still make my heart spin
That darkness may fade
And your light shines in
Jesus is always my Lord and King, the Saviour of my life. Jesus is always the same to me, because He is my God, yesterday, today and tomorrow. My feelings says I am to hold on to this Love of God with a faith strong and deep that no signs should deter God’s steadfast love for me.
As in the event of the wedding feast in Cana, Jesus said, it’s not my time yet… but, later on he still performed the changing of water into wine. I can see how Mother Mary’s humbleness of not giving up in Jesus, actually doubles her great trust in Him that he will do something despite saying no, not yet… This is how it is in life when things I pray or request do not get fulfilled or is not what it should be… Jesus did not immediately perform the miracle straight away after Mother Mary’s request, yet she still tells the servants to follow His instructions. She is so trusting.
Then, Jesus did not follow the actual proceeding of the Jewish custom, but the opposite whereby he changed the water to sweet wine at the end of the wedding.
That is his surprise to the wedding guests. Similarly in life He surprises me with other things much better than my request or what I pray for. Therefore, I proceed with my faith life by putting a great trust in Him that He provides better than I know. Not to look for signs too much, but to walk by faith and not by sight.
Signs or miracles are often used when Jesus wanted to manifest His glory. His first sign was at the wedding at Cana. Although He said His time had not come, He did what His mother asked by turning water into wine. His disciples and others at the feast witnessed this miracle and believed that Jesus was sent by God. But is He God or prophet? For there were many prophets who worked miracles in the olden days – Moses turned water to blood.
This sign is not enough to show he is God. Jesus then began His public ministry and in the end died. On the third day He resurrected. By rising He showed to his followers that He even had power over death. Is Jesus then God?
Jesus does not do things by halves. He gives the best (finest wine) and in plenty (900 bottles). Finally he gives his life after going through great sufferings for us.
Jesus has unspoken great love and respect for his mother, Mary. That is what the Chinese call filial piety. That is why we direct our petitions, prayers, etc to Jesus through Mary.
I’ll always go to Jesus through Mary, knowing that a mother’s intercession never fails. He will always open a path for us if we are humble and brave to travel down that path.
Jesus is my everything now. I realise that I depend solely on him. In the past, I knew him very little.
Today, after learning his identity and signs that Jesus performed at the wedding and its meaning, I was touched and want to know him more! My faith life will be – pray more, study and reflect his words and take action on them.
I started off reflecting on the sign is that Jesus is the Bridegroom, and if he is Bridegroom, and the Church is the Bride, then I, as a member of the church is his bride.
As a married woman, I thought about what marriage entails – learning to live with my husband requires that I consider his desires, and temper my own accordingly. It also requires that I accept as part of my family his family. Thus as the bride of Christ, I should also consider his desires and temper my own accordingly and accept his family as my family.
As I contemplated what Jesus would want (his teachings) and who his family is (everyone, including people I may not like), a new thought came to me; what I expected from my husband and thus what I should expect from Jesus. Unexpectedly, it was much harder to contemplate this than how I should change my life in accordance with Jesus’s teachings.
Expecting Jesus to be faithful to me and trusting him are surprisingly difficult. Head and heart are at odds. My head tells me that Jesus is faithful and reminds me of the promises in scripture, but my heart cries out ‘but…’
In all honesty I am not exactly sure how I should proceed from here.
The passage of the First Miracle at Cana teaches us that if we put our faith and trust in Jesus, there will be divine intervention even in the most desperate situations. Prayer will strengthen and deepen our faith in Him. I always believe that Jesus always listens and answers our prayers in His own time.
Jesus has opened my heart to him. He wants me to experience his joy and be my strength. He does not want my heart to be troubled and afraid.
Through his gentleness, humility and simplicity in life, he has shown me the truth, water turned into wine. He wants me to believe in him.
Jesus is my only hope. I believe his love has the power to lift me up in times of challenges in my life. I will put no fear in his love. My belief and faith in him, I will always invoke his presence in me and HOPE to receive his JOY.
Before I applied for a transfer to Sarawak, I attended a retreat at Maranatha Retreat Centre to search or rather to get confirmation from the Lord that it is His will and not my own feelings to take this big leap out from the comfort zone to the unknown.
From the retreat Jesus’ message to me was “Trust in Me” and I have been doing that since the day I arrived in Kuching on December 28, 2014. Ever since then, I have gotten to know Him more through talks, bible classes, prayer meetings, people I came into contact with, etc. It has been a blessing since the day I arrived. Jesus is now a brother, a friend, a confidante and most of all He is the one whom I can turn to in times of joy and sadness. I have full confidence that He is always there for me when I call out to Him. He is very real in my life as I experience His touch in my every day activities upon reflection during prayer time or my drive to work every morning.
My drive to work takes about 30 minutes and I use this time to pray, praising and thanking the Lord for another new day where I am given an opportunity to serve Him. To be able to appreciate the beauty around us in the early morning drive is like charging one’s battery for the day. There are many times when I fall short in my work and attitude towards people. But by His grace I am able to realise what I had done is not what He wants and so I will pull up my socks and try not to hurt Him. I must admit it is not easy.
This shift from the comfort of my home in Penang to Kuching has taught me to truly trust in the Lord even if things did not work out the way I expected. I can confidently say that He is so real in my life; the only thing is to surrender to His will and everything will fall into place. No doubt there were and will be storms but I have learnt to place my trust in Him knowing He is in control.
My prayer every day is to be His instrument of peace , love and joy to the people I meet or come my way, and also for Mother Earth with her beauty and life that she sustains: the plants and animals. In my own little ways of conservation by reusing reducing and recycling, I influence the people around me to do the same. I try to be mindful in the present and to realise that I need to walk the talk for the Lord every day till I see Him in the heavenly home. I love you Jesus and thank you for everything.
The moment I listened to the first song (Called and Gifted by Our God), I was deeply touched by the lyrics as if it’s calling me to get closer to Jesus.
Before this session, I never thought that Jesus is the bridegroom and we are the guests. All I know is that Jesus turned the water because Mother Mary asked Him to change and He respected His Mother. Perhaps He did not want the wedding to be turned into a disaster. The realization that Jesus is the bridegroom and we are the guests really made me realised that Jesus wants to be in our life every day.
Jesus, to me at this time, is a great provider (through my parents and friends). And being a cradle Catholic I have the honour of having a deeper knowledge through receiving and witnessing the sacraments.
I don’t think if I had really understood or the idea had sunk in that He provides the finest (like finest wine) to all according to his or her own predicament in life at any moment.
Now whenever I feel a pang of jealousy of what my siblings have, I have slowly come to understand that whatever I have received or am experiencing now is the finest according to my needs and predicament. In my own human eye, it may be less than perfect with my limited insight where I seem to be looking for the missing one while ignoring the gifts. But I am already blessed with what I have (the 6 jars).
But in due time whatever I ask for in faith and in His proper time, I too shall receive what I have asked for. In the meantime, I shall enjoy the finest that He has given me.
And being a Catholic, I have another advocate, Mother Mary who prays for me.
So now I shall resolve to be grateful for the filled jars that God has given me knowing that they are filled with the finest gifts to be shared with others. I just have to open my eyes of faith wider and listen to Mary and be faithful.
[2/8] Reflections on the Healing of the Royal Official’s Son
[3/8] Reflections on the Healing by the Pool of Bethesda
[4/8] Reflections on the Feeding of the Five Thousand
[5/8] Reflections on Jesus Walking on Water
[6/8] Reflections on Healing of the Man Born Blind